In The Crease returns to its roots as the column will provide you with everything you need to know about goaltending and who to start in the upcoming week. I'll focus on Great Options, Good Options and Goalies to avoid.
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Corey Crawford-Chicago Blackhawks
Schedule: Tue vs. SJ, Thu vs. DAL, Sat vs. ANA, Mon vs. TOR
Crawford’s been able to win multiple championships, but this is the first season he’s performed like an elite goaltender.
The 31-year-old has won 12 of his last 14 contests and he’s been a big reason for Chicago’s success.
Although his on-ice performance is the main reason why he’s a “great option” this week, the fact that he has a favorable schedule also helps.
The Blackhawks have at least one day between games, and all four of their games will be at the United Center.
Crawford enters the week with a 31-12-2 record with a 2.13 goals-against-average and a .931 save percentage this season. He also has seven shutouts.
He’s coming off wins over Colorado, Arizona and Dallas.
Ben Bishop-Tampa Bay Lightning
Schedule: Tue @ MTL, Fri vs. NSH, Sun vs. STL
Bishop was given the night off in Monday’s game against Ottawa, so he should be fresh ahead of Tuesday’s game in Montreal.
The Canadiens played well over the weekend, but Tuesday’s tilt is still very winnable for the Lightning.
The 29-year-old will then have a date with the low-scoring Predators on Friday night and a tougher matchup against the Blues at Amalie Arena.
Bishop has a 21-14-3 record with a 2.02 goals-against-average and a .926 save percentage this season. He’s won six of his last seven starts.
He’s allowed two goals are less in six of his last eight contests.
Andrei Vasilevskyi will get his share of starts between now and the end of the season, but Bishop will remain an elite fantasy option going for.
Braden Holtby-Washington Capitals
Schedule: Tue @ NSH, Thu @ MIN, Sat @ DAL
Holtby was my lead play last week and he didn’t disappoint, as he went a perfect 3-0.
Despite playing in three games in four nights, the 26-year-old managed to allow just two goals in each of his team’s three victories.
Through 42 games, Holtby has lost just eight games with five of those losses coming in regulation.
All three of Washington’s games are on the road this week, but the Predators have struggled to find the back of the net on a consistent basis, the Wild have been a train-wreck since the start of the new year and the Stars have cooled off considerably after their hot start.
There’s a good chance backup goalie Philipp Grubauer will get one start over the next seven days. Even if that does occur, fantasy owners should be comfortable knowing that Holtby has a good chance to win two games this week.
Tuukka Rask-Boston Bruins
Schedule: Tue vs. LAK, Thu @ WPG, Sat @ MIN
Rask hasn’t been very consistent this season, but he’s in the midst of another good stretch.
He’s won back-to-back starts against the Buffalo Sabres, and only allowed three goals in those two contests.
The 28-year-old is 3-1-1 in his last five contests and outside of a tough game against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night, his fantasy owners have to be thrilled with his upcoming schedule.
The Winnipeg Jets won big on Saturday night, but they’ve been a disappointment, and as I mentioned before, the Minnesota Wild haven’t been able to beat anybody lately.
Rask has a 19-15-5 record with a 2.47 goals-against-average and a .918 save percentage in 39 games this season.
It’s been a frustrating year for his fantasy owners, but now isn’t the time to give up on him. He should provide fantasy owners with above-average production over the last stretch of the season.
Petr Mrazek-Detroit Red Wings
Schedule: Wed vs. OTT, Fri vs. COL, Sun vs. BOS, Mon @ NYI
Mrazek has won each of his last two starts and allowed just one goal in the process.
He blanked a solid Florida team on Monday and allowed just one goal in a win over the Islanders on Saturday afternoon.
The 23-year-old entered the year sharing the workload with Jimmy Howard, but he’s left the latter in the dust and has taken over as Detroit’s number one option in goal.
He’ll likely be between the pipes for three games this week because the Wings do have a back-to-back situation on Sunday and Monday.
The schedule won’t be easy, but it is favorable enough that he can be considered a solid option this week. Three of Detroit’s games are at home.
Expect him to continue his strong play going forward.
He has a 20-10-4 record with a 1.97 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage this season.
Jonathan Quick-Los Angeles Kings
Schedule: Tue @ BOS, Thu @ NYI, Fri @ NYR, Sun @ NJ
Quick and the Kings will begin a difficult six-game road trip in Boston on Tuesday night.
It’s never easy for any team to go on an extended road trip on the opposite coast, but if there’s one team that can get it done it’s the Los Angeles Kings.
Quick is 13-4-1 on the road this season, and he has a 2.06 goals-against-average and a .931 save percentage in those games.
He has just one win in his last five contests, but a road trip away from home may just be what the doctor ordered for the Kings.
The 30-year-old has a 27-14-2 record with a 2.24 goals-against-average and a .917 save percentage this season.
His fantasy owners can expect him to be between the pipes for three of his team’s four games between now and Sunday.
Avoid these Netminders
Devan Dubnyk-Minnesota Wild
Schedule: Tue vs. DAL, Thu vs. WSH, Sat vs. BOS, Mon @ VAN
The Minnesota Wild have been horrible in 2016 and things haven’t improved over the last few games.
They enter this week having lost five games in a row, and their once potent offense has gone dry.
Goaltending isn’t their biggest issue, but every aspect of their team needs to improve for them to right this ship.
Unfortunately for Dubnyk and his fantasy owners, I’d recommend staying away from him. Minnesota will be in tough this week as they’ll face three of the better teams in the Eastern Conference in Washington and Boston as well as Dallas and a mediocre Vancouver team.
Dubnyk has dropped eight straight games (0-7-1) and he’s allowed three goals or more in three straight.
Ben Scrivens-Montreal Canadiens
Schedule: Tue vs. TB, Fri @ BUF, Mon @ ARZ
Scrivens played well in two games over the weekend. He was solid in a win over the Oilers and excellent in a shootout win over the Hurricanes.
Even though he was keeping the puck out of the net, Scrivens always seemed to be out of position.
It’s nice to see Montreal get some consistent goaltending with Carey Price on the shelf, but I don’t expect this run to last for Scrivens.
He’ll get a high-powered Lightning team on Tuesday night, and he’ll likely only start Friday’s game in Buffalo if he plays well versus the Bolts.
He has a 2-4-0 record with a 2.84 goals-against-average and a .904 save percentage this season.
Some fantasy GMs might be willing to take a flier on him, but I say you should let someone else pick him up off the waiver wire.
Connor Hellebuyck-Winnipeg Jets
Schedule: Tue @ STL, Thu vs. BOS, Sat @ EDM
Overall, Hellebuyck’s first season in the NHL has been far from disappointing.
The 22-year-old has more than held his own over the first 20 games of his career, but he’s definitely hit a rough patch as of late.
It’s hardly surprising that a young goaltender would hit a wall in his first season in the big leagues. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a solid goaltender going forward, but it does mean that his short-term fantasy stock will take a hit.
Another thing to keep in mind: Ondrej Pavelec is getting healthy, and you shouldn’t expect the Jets to keep three goalies around when he returns.
Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson would need to clear waivers to go down to the minor league, but not Hellebuyck.
With the Jets playoff hopes dwindling, they may just decide to send the rookie back down to the farm.
Keep him on your roster for now, but you may have to cut ties with him soon.